This week we are bringing you advice and tips for brides in the beginning of their wedding dress shopping journey. Perhaps you have visited a bridal shop or two and started trying on wedding dresses, or maybe you are just beginning to gather wedding dress inspiration photos. We have the top five most important questions all brides should ask bridal stores before going wedding dress shopping.
When beginning wedding dress shopping and researching bridal shops, we recommend to pick your top three bridal stores that you feel suit your personality. Choose the stores that have the wedding dress designers and bridal dress collections that catch your eye and that you are interested in seeing IRL and trying on. As you continue to visit more and more bridal stores, you will start to see the same wedding dress inventory and designs over and over again, and so that is why we recommend to start with your top three bridal stores.
For help in deciding what bridal store may be the best fit for you, be sure to read our past post on picking the right wedding dress store.
But back to the question at hand: What questions should brides who are just starting out in their wedding dress shopping ask each salon before they start shopping? If you're at the beginning of your hunt to find your dream bridal outfit or you've started, but you aren't sure what's next, you're in the right place. Follow along as we share everything you need to know about what questions you should be asking when you are booking appointments and beginning the wedding dress shopping journey.
Question 1: How Soon Should I Book An Appointment?
The first question you will need to ask before you can even begin wedding dress shopping is how soon you need to make an appointment at the bridal stores you wish to visit. The majority of bridal salons are by appointment only, and this allows you to have a more customized experience with your bridal stylist consultant. You may be able to make a wedding dress shopping appointment online, or it may require you to call the store to schedule.
Weekend appointments at bridal salons have a tendency to book up very quickly, so be sure to ask each bridal dress store how soon in advance you need to book an appointment. This is especially helpful information to have so you will be prepared with their time frame and can coordinate with any guests and loved ones that you want to bring with you to your wedding dress shopping appointment.
Before you go, be sure to get our free wedding dress shopping appointment checklist.
Be sure to know what days and times you are available ahead of calling for an appointment so you can quickly and easily schedule with the bridal salon.
Question 2: What Are The Delivery Dates & Timeframes?
When you are calling to schedule your wedding dress shopping appointments, there is another important logistical question to be asking. You want to be sure to ask what each bridal store’s delivery dates currently are. Shipping dates are ever-changing, especially as all industries are still navigating supply chain delays.
For more, be sure to read our advice on wedding dress shopping during the pandemic recovery and supply chain shipping delays.
In a perfect world, you would be buying your wedding dress one year before your wedding date. This is because most bridal gowns take approximately six to eight months to make. Your wedding dress could arrive early or it could arrive late, so you always want to give yourself some cushion room. Why add any stress to your wedding planning by waiting to order your wedding dress?
On top of production time, you also need to leave time for alterations after your wedding gown arrives. The alterations process occurs over an average of two months, so you want to have that extra time built in before your wedding day.
Buying your wedding dress one year before your wedding is the safest route to go, but definitely be sure to chat with your bridal store to see what their delivery dates are like and what they recommend so you have the smoothest experience possible.
For more on the alterations process, read our past post on what happens after your wedding dress order arrives.
Question 3: What Should I Bring To My Appointment?
The next question you should ask when making a wedding dress shopping appointment is what items you should bring with you to your appointment. Each bridal store may vary in their recommendations of what to bring with you when trying on wedding gowns.
At Lovella, we recommend all brides wear nude undergarments to their appointment. We also tell our brides to be prepared to go braless, as many of the wedding dresses they will try on have built-in bra cups and so they won’t be distracted by bra straps in the various silhouettes they may try on.
Perhaps the most important item to bring with you is your wedding dress inspirational photos. Hopefully, you've looked online and taken photos or screenshots of the wedding dress styles that you love and want to try on. If you have already tried on wedding gowns, bring those photos of you wearing the sample dress with you so you can share with your bridal consultant what you liked or didn’t like. It will be helpful to know if there are certain styles or dress silhouettes that you love or want to avoid. It can provide a great jumping off point for your next appointment.
If you haven’t tried on any wedding dresses yet, then bring along photos of dresses that have caught your eye or dresses that you know the store has in their inventory that you’d like to try on. Knowing your sense of style will give your bridal consultant a starting point in recommending bridal gowns you should try on.
Pro Tip About Your Inspiration Photos:
One last note on your wedding dress inspiration photos - be prepared to not like a bridal dress once you put it on. You may find that a wedding dress you loved online just doesn’t work on your body as you imagined it might. Be open to trying on wedding dresses of all styles, even if you think you might not like that dress style. You never know when you are going to find the one!
At Lovella, we hear all the time from our brides that they ended up falling in love with a wedding gown they never expected.
To help you be even more prepared for your wedding dress shopping appointment, be sure to check out our wedding dress shopping checklist.
Question 4: What Does The Buying Process Look Like?
The next question to ask before starting your wedding dress shopping is one that will be helpful in your wedding budgeting and financial process. You will want to ask the bridal shop what the bridal dress buying process looks like. In short: What happens after you say 'yes' to the dress?
Before going to a wedding dress shopping appointment, you will want to know what the next steps financially and logistically are after you’ve found a wedding dress you love and want to purchase. Is there a deposit required, or do you need to pay in full? Will your measurements be taken, or will a dress size be chosen?
At Lovella, we require all orders to be paid in full at the time of ordering. We will take your wedding dress measurements and pick the bridal dress sizing with you that day while you are in the store. We always recommend that measurements be taken while you are in the store. Also, we like to complete your order in person, because if you wait and want to order by email or call the store back after you've left, that just adds another chance for error in the numbers and sizing.
By handling your order in person, there are less complications and chance for a discrepancy in the numbers. Don’t take a chance on what you think you're getting and what you're actually getting.
For more on why it’s important to always be ready to buy when wedding dress shopping, check out our post on choosing versus buying your wedding gown.
Question 5: What Does The Alterations Process Look Like?
The last important question to ask before wedding dress shopping is what the alterations process looks like. This is valuable information in many ways. You will want to first know if they offer in-house alterations and what that process looks like as far as scheduling appointments, how many appointments you will need, and how soon before your wedding they recommend alterations begin. This will, of course, vary for each wedding dress style and body type, so be sure to chat with your bridal stylist consultant about the alteration timing and logistical details.
If the bridal shop you purchase your wedding dress from doesn’t offer alterations in-store, you'll need to find out about getting alterations on your own. Do they have a list of recommended seamstresses you can call? Be sure to ask their advice on how quickly you need to call and interview each seamstress to see how their schedule and timeframe aligns with your wedding day. This is important so you can ensure that you have enough time for the wedding dress alterations process after your gown arrives.
Whether you are using your bridal shop for alterations or outsourcing, it will also be helpful to know the pricing structure. Alterations vary for each wedding dress. Maybe you just need a minor hem, or perhaps a bustle added. Or maybe you are doing a bit more involved alteration like adding or removing straps or lengthening the wedding dress train. Each bridal dress will require a different amount of work, but having at least an estimate on the alterations cost will help with your overall wedding budgeting and finances.
VIDEO: Top 5 Questions To Ask Bridal Stores When Wedding Dress Shopping
Don't miss this week's advice video where you can learn the top 5 questions all brides should ask before wedding dress shopping.
More Helpful Wedding Dress Shopping Advice
We hope that you have found these five important questions helpful in preparing you for your wedding dress shopping appointments. To help you prepare for your wedding dress journey, be sure to read our past advice posts:
- What Should I Expect When Wedding Dress Shopping For The First Time
- Bridal Store Etiquette: The Dos And Don'ts Of Wedding Dress Shopping
- What Happens After Your Wedding Dress Arrives After Ordering
- 5 Questions Plus Size Brides Should Ask When Wedding Dress Shopping
If you're shopping for your perfect wedding dress, come visit us at Lovella Bridal in Glendale, CA. We carry wedding dresses in all sizes and styles, including plus-size bridal gowns and a full selection of veils and accessories. Lovella Bridal is the premier, luxury bridal wedding dress shopping boutique located in Los Angeles, California. Lovella features couture, feminine, modern and chic bridal gowns in all sizes from the best wedding dress designers. Schedule an appointment to find the wedding dress of your dreams at Lovella Bridal. We can't wait to help you!
About Wedding Fashion Expert
Our wedding dress shopping tips and advice are from Nayri, Lovella's own, in-house wedding fashion expert. Nayri is truly the expert when it comes to bridal fashion and wedding style. As the Wedding Fashion Expert, Nayri is the top bridal fashion stylist and the best-selling author of the book "I'm Getting Married And I Have Nothing To Wear," the ultimate guide to helping brides find their wedding day style and their perfect wedding dress. You can subscribe to her YouTube channel or listen to her podcast for more helpful and practical advice on wedding dress shopping.